McConnell: Senate will take up North Korea sanctions bill

McConnell: Senate will take up North Korea sanctions bill
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnell­ObamaCare fix hinges on Medicaid clash in Senate A guide to the committees: Senate Pence is Trump’s top surrogate MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that the upper chamber will soon take up sanctions legislation against North Korea after the country claimed it detonated a hydrogen bomb.

"Sen. [Cory] Gardner has been working on a North Korea sanctions bill. We anticipate it will come out of the Foreign Relations Committee very soon, and I intend to schedule floor time on it shortly," he told reporters. 

The Republican leader met with Gardner, a Colorado Republican, and Sen. Bob CorkerBob CorkerA guide to the committees: Senate Republicans play clean up on Trump's foreign policy GOP Congress unnerved by Trump bumps MORE (R-Tenn.), the Foreign Relations Committee chairman, on the issue earlier Tuesday.

McConnell made the comments ahead of an expected House vote this week to approve legislation from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.). That proposal would block North Korea’s access to hard currency and target its assets for nuclear development.

The reported tests from North Korea have sparked bipartisan concern from lawmakers, though the administration has disputed the isolated country's claims. The successful detonation of a hydrogen bomb by North Korea would both violate a United Nations Security Council resolution and mark an increase in the country's nuclear capabilities.

The top members of the Foreign Relations Committee also suggested after a classified briefing with administration officials on Monday evening that they would expect the Senate to take action on sanctions legislation.

Corker said that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have introduced legislation and "so we're going to go through it methodically."

The Tennessee Republican, however, suggested what specific sanctions to enact weren't a focus of the Monday briefing. 

Sen. Ben CardinBen CardinA guide to the committees: Senate House bill would prevent Trump from lifting Russian sanctions Overnight Cybersecurity: White House does damage control on Flynn | Pressure builds for probe MORE (D-Md.) said, separately, that he and Corker have already started having conversations to make sure the committee has a sanctions bill.

In addition to Gardner's legislation, Sen. Bob MenendezRobert MenendezSteve Mnuchin, foreclosure king, now runs your US Treasury Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Senators to Trump: We support additional Iran sanctions MORE (D-N.J.), who is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamA guide to the committees: Senate Cheney to intro Pence at Jewish GOP event CEOs come to defense of border tax plan MORE (R-S.C.) have introduced a proposal to crack down on North Korea. 

The Graham-Menendez bill would expand the administration's ability to sanction property or seize the financial assets of individuals or organizations that aid the North Korean government. 

Menendez said that he is talking with Gardner to see if they can work out their differences and "bring it to the chairman in a bipartisan effort."